ever have to give someone CPR?

While this is hardly mundane nor pointless and I hope it is not taken the wrong way…

Has anyone ever had to administer CPR to someone else?

I just got my certification since I will be coaching high school tennis next spring and this is one of the requirements. I was just thinking that since I have learned CPR technique since 10th grade (many years ago) and have been periodically re-certified, I wonder if I would actually be able to remember everything if the real thing actually happened.

I think that once the initial sense of panic wore off that I would indeed be able to remember most of what I am supposed to do. Naturally I hope to never have to put this to the test.

Any lay persons out there ever have to give someone CPR? Any REAL advice to give to others who might find themselves in the same position?

No CPR, but I have come across someone who was in shock. I covered them with a coat and tried to put their feet up. I think I did the right thing.

Fifteen years ago, I gave CPR to an infant in our apartment building who had apparently stopped breathing. Two nights before that, I had attended a “Women in Transition” meeting (a group for single/divorced mothers that was started by one of my college professors and his wife for non-traditional college students), and the guest speakers, who were nursing students, demonstrated infant CPR.

The baby in this case was hospitalized overnight, and never had another breathing problem, as far as I know. I never had to use CPR again, and don’t know if I would remember how.

I read this factoid one time. It was uncredited and unsourced, so I won’t attest to its accuracy:

Successful resuscitations by CPR in TV and Movies: 67%
Successful resuscitations in real life: 20%

I have done CPR more times than I can remember. The very first time, I had been certified for some 3 years, working in the Emergency Department 2nd day on the job, I responded to a man down call all the way there I couldn’t remember the first thing about CPR, once there, It came back to me as I needed it. As a CPR instructor, I hear stories like this all the time, that is the main reason we have you practice so much in class, because you may not remember anything I say but you will remember what you did.

Mjollir: I can’t quote offical numbers but from my personal experince the save rate is much lower. That is due mainly inpart do to the time from arrest to the start of CPR. I can tell you that with the new Automatic External Defibulators(AED) that are now showing up every where the save rates where they are used is 50%!

xizor: You treated that person in shock correctly.

Hope this helps you. Heres hoping you never have to find out how you will perform.

A few years ago, I had an instructor tell us that the survival rate for people who have to be resusitated is, in fact, very low (the older they are, the worse the survival rate). He also pointed out that anyone who needs CPR and doesn’t get it will almost certainly die, so you might as well try anyway. Somebody’s dad/mom/brother/sister/husband/wife will have a chance to live they wouldn’t otherwise have.


Reagarding the OP: Nope, I’ve never in over 20 years of qualification had to provide CPR, but I’m glad I know how anyway, just in case.


I have been through more CPR classes than I can count, and fortuately have never had to use it. But here is the little verse that I use to remember the compression/breath ratio:

Five and one for the little ones,
Fifteen and two for me and you!

It just makes me feel better to know that I know that.

Quoth xizor:

Probably, but it depends. Did you see the person’s face? The rule we learned in Scounts is “If the face is red, raise the head; if the face is pale, raise the tail”. In most shock cases, there’s not enough blood to the head, so you elevate the “tail” (feet), but in a few, it’s too much blood to the head, so you do the opposite. Also, the blanket doesn’t apply if it’s hot out. The general idea is to make the person comfortable.

I know CPR (but probably need a refresher), but knock wood, I’ve never needed to use it.

Med-Surg RN checking in here

I’ve participated in more codes than I can remember. The person doesn’t make it about 80% of the time. I realize that all of these patients were very ill to begin with or they wouldn’t be in the hospital.

On the other hand, in the event of a normally healthy person coding d/t an accident, shock, or drowning CPR is truly a lifesaver.

I agree more should actually take CPR classes than just try to do what they see on TV. Once I was shopping and an elderly gentleman fell to the floor obviously having a seizure. Another nurse and myself responded, rolling him on his side and preventing him from harming himself. We had to physically fight off other onlookers who wanted to give him CPR, which he clearly did not need. People were actually screaming at us to DO SOMETHING ELSE. YOU SAY YOU ARE NURSES???

In any event, it is scary but you will be surprised how much you can remember when you have to. Also with more training,your anxiety decreases.

I once was about to Heimlich someone, who shook me off. Someone else jumped in and smacked him on the back to dislodge a hunk of corndog.

Only later did I read the rules on a restaurant sign and realize I was supposed to check if he could breath first, in which case we both would have been doing the wrong thing.

Yes, I’ve given CPR at work. No, the “patient” did not survive (he was so sick the coroner wasn’t even sure what disease killed him).

My main advice is to stay calm. Check to see if the victim has a pulse or respiration. If he or she doesn’t, start CPR. Don’t hesitate because you’re not sure you’ll do it right. If someone’s heart and lungs have stopped, nothing you can do is going to make him or her any worse off.

Just to add a note of sadness to this thread.
I have known several MDs who where well trained in the administration of CPR. Unfortunately as a consequence of of Malpractice lawsuits, they were afraid to use CPR on anyone. I don’t know if its a formal requirement of malpractice insurance, but mostly they said that the risk was just to great for them to do anything outside of a hospital, since even properly given CPR often results in broken chest bones, and can lead to a lawsuit. One guy was actually so screwed up by not being able to help people(the whole reason he had gone into it in the first place) that he became a mechanic.

All the more reason to get some training. Amateurs are protected by good Samaritan laws in most states. The pros (EMTs, Paramedics, etc.) are screwed, since they are required by law (or the terms of their accreditation as a medic) to assist someone in need, but aren’t always protected by the good Samaritan laws.


P.S.: I’ve heard that if bones don’t crack and cartilage isn’t damaged, you’re not doing it (CPR) right.

I’ve performed CPR scores of times, first as an EMT, now as a cop. Of those, only a couple have been saved. As a rule, once the heart decides to quit, it doesn’t want to be bothered again.

One thing no one taught me (but I always talked about when I used to teach CPR) was the effect of that first good compression. CRUNCH!! If you’re not ready for it, many people may just give up right there. It sounds like you’ve crushed the victim’s chest and broken every rib twice! :eek:

Never done CPR on a human, but have done it plenty on pets.

Advanced Life Support Ambo checking in…

I have participated in more CPR’s than I care to remember. My experience has been the same as the other pro’s here: most of the time we do it for practice. I could count the number of saves on my fingers.

SA Ambulance Service statistics show that prior to equipping ambulances with defibrillators, our success rate was about 4%. This increased significantly when AED’s were palced on all frontline ambulances. Further improvement came with ALS and paramedics running protocols similar to those used by doctors in the Emergency department of our hospitals. Even with all of these factors, our success rate is still only about 25%. However, this must be qualified by stating that not all of that 25% walk out of the hospital.

I did a CPR course in work as part of the training to become a first-aider. About 2 months later I was walking down the road where I lived at the time and came across a group of people standing around a guy. The guy had been hit by a car and somebody said he wasn’t breathing.

I said I was a first-aider and almost immediatly regreted it. I didn’t want that responsibility but it was too late to back down. I couldn’t feel a pulse so started CPR and continued until a ambulance came. It was very tiring and all I could think of was making sure I got the counts right. He still didn’t have a pulse when they took him away. I went home and checked with the hospital but they told me that I wasn’t a family member and put me on hold and never came back to me.

I found that once I’d got into the situation I just went into automatic mode until it was over. I was lucky that it was fresh in my mind. That was about two years ago and I’m waiting for a refresher course to come up. Luckily I’ve never had to use it for even a plaster since.

i did it once in work. Amazingly enough the person responded very quickly, less than a minute. It was like a car that was a bit reluctant to start. We did one compression he started to beat again, then slowly his heart would slow down and stop. Two more compressions and he started again, and wound down again. Then three rounds of compressions and breathing and he finally responded. The emts arrived then. He got a pacemaker 2 days later and lived nearly a year after this episode. In a really weird coincidence his episode happened the thursday before good friday. Easter had a totally diffrent meaning for me that year.

“All the more reason to get some training. Amateurs are protected by good Samaritan laws in most states. The pros (EMTs, Paramedics, etc.) are screwed, since they are required by law (or the terms of their accreditation as a medic) to assist someone in need, but aren’t always protected by the good Samaritan laws.”


Not true in NM – Good samaritan laws cover all personal in NM, professional or amature, who are not on duty.

Example – Myself, an EMT (who has done CPR 5 or 6 times), on duty, is not protected by the good samaritian law. I am expected to respond as an EMS professional

Example – Myself, an EMT, off duty driving to my second form of employment (Sense EMT’s get such great cash), sees an accident on the side of the road. I stop to assist the injured motorists. At this time I am covered by the good samaritan law of NM – I have no duty to act, I am not expected to respond to this accident.

Oh, rocking chair – I dont remember checking for a pulse after 1 compression in my CPR class…